Monthly Meetings:

All members are invited to our Monthly Meetings, held at St Patrick's Golf Club, Saul Road, Downpatrick.  We start at 10.30am and usually finish around 12.30.

Each month we have a guest speaker, who will give a talk on a subject of interest and there is always time to ask questions.  There is then an opportunity to have a chat and catch-up with other members over a cup of tea or coffee.  Finally, we have an update on activities and other events which might be of interest to members.  This is also an opportunity to put forward suggestions or ideas for new activities.

Below are the dates for forthcoming meetings and, where speakers have been confirmed, the name of the speaker and the topic they will be covering.

Also listed below are details of some of the speakers we have had over the last couple of years.

If you have any suggestions for speakers who may be of interest to the group, please let us know.

3 September 2018Marie Therese Rogers-Moloney - For the sins of my Mother
24 September 2018Members 'Show & Tell'
29 October 2018Martin Carey - Mourne Heritage Trust
26 November 2018Richard Parkinson - Colditz
28 January 2019Leslie Simpson - Traditional Recipes from the Museum Archive
25 February 2019Maria Noble - The History of Black Music
25 March 2019Discussion - The Future of Downe U3A
29 April 2019Richard Gill - Ulster Bank
20 May 2019Nichola MacDougall - Energy Efficiency in the Home. Followe by the Annual General Meeting

We do not normally have a formal meeting in June but instead arrange a social event ahead of the summer break when we do not meet during July & August.  The December meeting is normally replaced with a seasonal lunch earlier in the month.

Previous Meetings:


25 February 2019

Maria Noble gave a talk on the History of Black Music

After a preview of her presentation Maria gave a short talk, and treated us to a musical example, of a number of genres of Black Music.

We heard how the gospel was central to America/African music, for example the hymns of Isaac Watts were particularly popular with slaves in and around the year 1867: this music eventually fundamentally changed American church, with the use of instruments and the type of singing.  The hymns/songs were commercialised, toured the world – where Queen Victoria wept, Edward VII learned to play the banjo – and in the late 19th century African/American music influenced marching bands, celebratory music, ragtime and early jazz, etc. Names such as Scott Joplin and Maisie Smith broke into the record market.

From the harmonising of the Minstrels, through classical African/American, sophisticated female singing (eg. Josephine Baker and Tamla Motown), church music (think Mahalia Jackson, also a civil rights activist), to the Beatles, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston and the New Millennium (think Beyonce singing ‘Destiny’s Child’) – Black Music appears to have been immensely powerful.

Apparently the most popular Soul tune has been ‘I heard it through the Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye.   I imagine we all have our favourites: whether Blues, Rock n Roll, Funk, Hip Hop .... it all started here.

28 January 2019

The Guest Speaker was Leslie Simpson. Leslie is a member of the Friends of the Down County Museum and edited a cookery book produced by the Friends to raise money for their work in supporting the Museum. The Museum holds a collection of cookery books, going back around 200 years. Leslie took us through some of the highlights from these books over the years, from 1829 through to the 1960 and Fanny Craddock. Copies of the Cookery Book are still available to buy at the Museum.









Mike KingDown County Museum - Building
Florence McFarlaneU3A Movement
Cathie McKimmDownpatrick Opera Fringe
Terence BowmanLife & Times at Mourne Observer
Dr CampbellSt PatrickÕs Centre & Life of St Patrick
Eddie McGradyLife of an MP
George RiceHistory of Ardglass
Emma ThorpeNorthern Ireland Screen (Historical Film Clips)
Jim ManlyArtist
Yvette ShapiroJournalist & Broadcaster
Senator Maurice HayesCareer
Professor Ronnie BuchananMerchants and Planters
Albert BairdImpact India
Olive BroderickVoluntary Arts Ireland
John KillenLinenhall Library
Clive ScoularSarah Purser Ð The life of
Pat DevlinGenealogy
Ed KilgoreMourne Mountain Rescue Team
Sean NolanThe Story of ÒMy Lagan LoveÓ
Walter LoveLife and Times
Dr Phillip DonaldWorking in Guinea
Iain DavidsonDown Arts Centre
Clive ScoularDr Hans Sloane
Linda McKennaCrime and Punishment in Co Down 18th & 19th Centuries
Jo WhatmoughA Life in Wildlife Conversation
Howard Goslyn18th & 19th Century Plant Collectors
Helen HoneymanA Tour of Iran
Finbar McCormackHistory and Folklore of Holy Wells
Kevin QuinnA Tour of Ireland Through Poetry
Sarah McCandlessPatient & Client Council
Peter McCannRennaisance Art
Madeleine McAlisterHistory of Underwear
Helen HoneymanTravels in Uzbekistan
Avril Milligan (Rowallane)Herbs
Brian KennedyHistory of Modern Irish Art
Janice HolmesA Social History of Down
David ParkWriting
Michael HealyWaste Not, Want Not
Susie MillarTwo New Pennies Ð Grandfather lost on the Titanic
Julian GreenwoodBirds of County Down
Brian BlackSailing in the Artic Ocean
Raymond & Sheila Crea and Maureen KellyTravels in Vietnam and Cambodia
Avril MilliganSpring Plants
Clive ScoularHenry Blackwood
Stuart PollardU3A Trust
Janet McLeanNational Gallery Celebrating 150 years
Roma TomeltyCareer Highlights
David AndersonHospitality at Hillsborough Castle
Diana GledhillTravels in Kamchatka
Julian GreenwoodBirdlife in South of France
Lisa MallonAlzheimerÕs Society
Tony & Rose MurphyTravels in Isreal
Dot BlakelyWater Birds on Quoille
Dr Brian McElroyChiropratric Treatment
Maria NobleHistory of Black People in the British Isles
Susan PriceNepal
Tony McAuleyWriter & Broadcaster
George BusbySecret Listeners of Gilnahirk
Norman KerrHarry Ferguson
Frank McGreevyCamino Walk
Manson BlairThe Sinking of the Titanic Ð the Alternative Story
Alan DrysdaleArds TT Races
Acting Up Group
Rosemary DohertyFather Dan CUmmings
John HannaConfessions of a Collector
Neil PorteousThe Development of Mount Stewart Garden
Marie MullanThe Geneva Window by Harry Clarke
Catherine McAnallenVolunteering Overseas - Any Granny Can
Ernie WilsonMourne Ramblings
Sandy SmithCS Lewis's links with County Down
Alan BucknallPower to our Children
Ernie CromieUlster Aviation Society
Tim CampbellThe St Patrick Way
Anna LoHer Life & Political Career
Samuel ReidThe Dogs Trust
Norman WeatherallHow we used to shop in Belfast
Simon MaltmanCrime Fiction Writer
Sheena WilkinsonHer life story as an author
Gerry MillerCreating a Memoir
Marie Therese Rogers-MoloneyThe Sins of my Mother
Martin CareyMourne Heritage Trust
Richard ParkinsonColditz